Trinity Mount Ministries

Showing posts with label news. Show all posts
Showing posts with label news. Show all posts

Friday, September 1, 2023

Apple’s Decision to Kill Its CSAM Photo-Scanning Tool Sparks Fresh Controversy


Child safety group Heat Initiative plans to launch a campaign pressing Apple on child sexual abuse material scanning and user reporting. The company issued a rare, detailed response on Thursday.


IN DECEMBER, APPLE said that it was killing an effort to design a privacy-preserving iCloud photo-scanning tool for detecting child sexual abuse material (CSAM) on the platform. Originally announced in August 2021, the project had been controversial since its inception. Apple had first paused it that September in response to concerns from digital rights groups and researchers that such a tool would inevitably be abused and exploited to compromise the privacy and security of all iCloud users. This week, a new child safety group known as Heat Initiative told Apple that it is organizing a campaign to demand that the company “detect, report, and remove” child sexual abuse material from iCloud and offer more tools for users to report CSAM to the company. 

Today, in a rare move, Apple responded to Heat Initiative, outlining its reasons for abandoning the development of its iCloud CSAM scanning feature and instead focusing on a set of on-device tools and resources for users known collectively as Communication Safety features. The company's response to Heat Initiative, which Apple shared with WIRED this morning, offers a rare look not just at its rationale for pivoting to Communication Safety, but at its broader views on creating mechanisms to circumvent user privacy protections, such as encryption, to monitor data. This stance is relevant to the encryption debate more broadly, especially as countries like the United Kingdom weigh passing laws that would require tech companies to be able to access user data to comply with law enforcement requests.

“Child sexual abuse material is abhorrent and we are committed to breaking the chain of coercion and influence that makes children susceptible to it,” Erik Neuenschwander, Apple's director of user privacy and child safety, wrote in the company's response to Heat Initiative. He added, though, that after collaborating with an array of privacy and security researchers, digital rights groups, and child safety advocates, the company concluded that it could not proceed with development of a CSAM-scanning mechanism, even one built specifically to preserve privacy.

“Scanning every user’s privately stored iCloud data would create new threat vectors for data thieves to find and exploit," Neuenschwander wrote. "It would also inject the potential for a slippery slope of unintended consequences. Scanning for one type of content, for instance, opens the door for bulk surveillance and could create a desire to search other encrypted messaging systems across content types.”

Heat Initiative is led by Sarah Gardner, former vice president of external affairs for the nonprofit Thorn, which works to use new technologies to combat child exploitation online and sex trafficking. In 2021, Thorn lauded Apple's plan to develop an iCloud CSAM scanning feature. Gardner said in an email to CEO Tim Cook on Wednesday, August 30, which Apple also shared with WIRED, that Heat Initiative found Apple's decision to kill the feature “disappointing.”

“Apple is one of the most successful companies in the world with an army of world-class engineers,” Gardner wrote in a statement to WIRED. “It is their responsibility to design a safe, privacy-forward environment that allows for the detection of known child sexual abuse images and videos. For as long as people can still share and store a known image of a child being raped in iCloud we will demand that they do better.”

In the email to Cook, Gardner wrote that Apple's photo-scanning tool “not only positioned Apple as a global leader in user privacy but also promised to eradicate millions of child sexual abuse images and videos from iCloud. … Child sexual abuse is a difficult issue that no one wants to talk about, which is why it gets silenced and left behind. We are here to make sure that doesn’t happen.”

Apple maintains that, ultimately, even its own well-intentioned design could not be adequately safeguarded in practice, and that on-device nudity detections for features like Messages, FaceTime, AirDrop, and the Photo picker are safer alternatives. Apple has also begun offering an application programming interface (API) for its Communication Safety features so third-party developers can incorporate them into their apps. Apple says that the communication platform Discord is integrating the features and that appmakers broadly have been enthusiastic about adopting them.

“We decided to not proceed with the proposal for a hybrid client-server approach to CSAM detection for iCloud Photos from a few years ago,” Neuenschwander wrote to Heat Initiative. “We concluded it was not practically possible to implement without ultimately imperiling the security and privacy of our users.”

Friday, August 11, 2023

‘We have the internet, it’s not going away’: How to keep children safe online

Greece Police started investigating him back on May 3. Prosecutors say Milam posed as a high school student on Snapchat and sent and received sexually explicit photos and videos with young girls. 

Since that arrest News10NBC has been hearing from parents rattled by the disturbing allegations.

Parents are wondering what they can do to keep their children safe. News10NBC’s Natalie Faas spoke with the Bivona Child Advocacy Center on Wednesday to see what advice they could offer.

The people at Bivona deal with cases of child abuse in all forms. They are trained to teach both children and adults how to prevent, respond and react to abuse and how to stay safe in all environments.

Bivona’s outreach work is all about educating children and adults. The experts help kids learn how and when to tell a safe adult that they need help. They work with adults on how to react if their child tells them someone is hurting them, and what they should do. 

A major focus is on online safety. With social media constantly evolving, it can be hard to keep up. 

Bivona keeps an extensive database of child safety resources — like a list of apps that parents can use to monitor what their children are doing on their devices, and who they are interacting with. 

“Check your children’s phones, check your children’s devices on a regular basis,” explains Danielle Lyman-Torres, president and CEO of Bivona Child Advocacy. “Make sure you have some settings on there, some parental settings, especially for younger children to maybe block some content. The reality is that we have the internet, it’s not going away, and we are not going to be able to keep children from using it. But we need to be sure that we are being vigilant and checking.”

If you want to know more or need Bivona’s help, they can be reached at (585)935-7800 or click here for their website.

Thursday, February 9, 2023

Girl Missing Over A Year Found In Closet Of Michigan Home


A U.S. Marshals fugitive team found the girl Tuesday in Port Huron, Michigan, a year after her foster family reported her missing.(Gray News, file)

By The Associated Press

PORT HURON, Mich. (AP) — A 14-year-old girl who was reported missing over a year ago by her foster family has been found hiding in the closet of a Michigan home, authorities said.

A U.S. Marshals fugitive team found the girl Tuesday in Port Huron, about 62 miles (99 kilometers) northeast of Detroit. Child Protective Services took her to a hospital, where it was discovered that she was pregnant.

“She was crying,” Deputy U.S. Marshal Robert Watson told the Detroit Free Press. “She didn’t know where she was going to go. She was pretty terrified. And she was afraid of losing her baby.”

Authorities are pursuing parental kidnapping charges against the girl’s biological mother, who previously lost custody of her daughter, Watson said.

The mother is believed to have found the girl after she ran away and started moving the girl from house to house, authorities said. The girl has been reunited with her biological father.

State police contacted Watson on Tuesday seeking help in locating the girl. Tips led authorities to the home.

“The occupants refused us entry, wouldn’t talk to us or give us any information,” he told The Detroit News. “We ended up having to serve a search warrant to get inside.”

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Search continues for Madalina Cojocari two months after her disappearance


CORNELIUS, N.C. — Saturday marks two months since a missing 11-year-old Cornelius girl was last seen in public.

Madalina Cojocari was seen walking off a school bus on Nov. 21. Her mother, Diana Cojocari, last saw her at their Cornelius home on Nov. 23, but her mother didn’t report her missing until Dec. 15 -- 22 days later.

In January, Diana Cojocari and Christopher Palmiter each were indicted by a grand jury on the charge of failing to report the disappearance of a child to law enforcement.

The search for Madalina expanded into Western North Carolina on Jan 6. Law enforcement sources told Channel 9 they came in contact with Madalina’s mother, Diana Cojocari, in a rural part of Madison County. A deputy came in contact with Cojocari at a pull-off area on U.S. Highway 25 near Lonesome Mountain Road, sources said.

Days later, newly unsealed search warrants shed more light on what investigators are looking for in the case.

According to the documents obtained by Channel 9, investigators went to the home of Madalina Cojocari on Dec. 15. with a search warrant looking for any potential evidence that could be associated with her disappearance. They seized three iPhones and 11 other items from the home, according to the documents.

Then later, on Dec. 21, Channel 9 was at the home as police seized more items.

Information about what was taken from the home on both dates was redacted from the warrants, but it appears investigators took nearly 40 pieces of evidence.

The Cornelius Police Department, the SBI, and the FBI continue to search for Madalina. Those departments have posted flyers and billboards of Madalina since she went missing.

Sunday, December 18, 2022

Harrowing details emerge as missing 14-year-old girl is found in a closet 400 miles from home a month after she vanished.

Police arrested 35-year-old David E. Roark on multiple charges after he allegedly abducted the child from Arkansas.

Roark also had outstanding warrants from Kentucky, according to cops.

His arrest comes after an investigation by the Exploited and Missing Child Unit and the White County Sheriff’s Office in Arkansas.

The Wichita Police department were contacted by a White County sergeant after midnight on Wednesday.

The officer was looking for help in locating a 14-year-old girl who left home in early November and never returned, Officer Chad Ditch said.

A lead in the case came when the girl was seen with a man in a convenience store before leaving with him in a car.

White County investigators learned that the suspect was possibly in the Wichita area.

Following an investigation, police found out that Roark was likely staying at a nearby home.

He was arrested when he was seen leaving the house.

Officers then found the missing teen inside a closet.

Both the girl and Roark were interviewed by The Exploited and Missing Child Unit.

Roark is being held in jail on a $1.5million bond.

The U.S. Sun contacted the district attorney’s office for comment but did not hear back by the time of publication.

Thursday, July 14, 2022

TikTok to filter ‘mature or complex’ videos as child safety concerns mount


TikTok said it is rolling out a new feature designed to stop underage users from seeing videos with “mature or complex themes” amid mounting scrutiny over the wildly popular video app’s effect on children

The move comes as TikTok faces wrongful death lawsuits filed earlier this month in California by parents who alleged that their eight and nine year-old children died after trying to recreate “blackout challenge” videos that had been served to them through TikTok.

In an effort to protect underage users from “content with overtly mature themes,” TikTok is introducing a ratings metric the company says is similar to systems used in the film, television and video game industries. 

TikTok will start introducing “maturity scores” in the coming weeks, the company said in a blog post.

     TikTok is cracking down on “mature” content.


“When we detect that a video contains mature or complex themes, for example, fictional scenes that may be too frightening or intense for younger audiences, a maturity score will be allocated to the video to help prevent those under 18 from viewing it across the TikTok experience,” TikTok’s head of trust and safety Cormac Keenan said in a blog post. 

In addition to the maturity score feature, TikTok is introducing another tool for all users that twill allow users to manually block videos with certain words or hashtags from both their “Following” and “For You” feeds. 

For example, vegan users can block videos about dairy or meat recipes, Keenan said. 

Scrutiny of TikTok, which is owned by Beijing-based ByteDance, ranges far beyond the “blackout challenge.” 

          An example of TikTok’s new filter tool. 


American lawmakers have raised concerns about TikTok serving videos glorifying eating disorders and self-harm to children suffering from such conditions. They have also questioned whether TikTok shares data with the Chinese government, a practice the company has denied

In addition, consumer protection advocates have raised concerns about the spread of misleading advertisements for sketchy payday loans on TikTok, as exclusively reported by The Post in June. 

Following The Post’s reporting, TikTok banned several of the ads. 

Thursday, December 9, 2021

Detroit Officers Sense Something Wrong, Rescue Four Kidnapped Kids in a stolen car During A Traffic Stop


Posted by: FeaturedLaw and LegalMust Reads

DETROIT, MI – Not all heroes wear capes, and that much is evident in terms of police officers all over the nation.

That’s exactly the case in Detroit, Michigan where two officers noted something was off.

Through their digging, they were able to determine that the children in the car they’d pulled over had been kidnapped and they were able to rescue them.

On November 30th, Detroit Police Officers allegedly witnessed a vehicle run a red light in the area of Grand River and Evergreen Avenue and stopped the vehicle for the infraction.

When officers spoke to the female driver, she told them that she was in a hurry to get the children that were in the vehicle to school.

The officers noted the body language of the children inside the car and decided to dig a little deeper and began questioning the driver as to which school the children attend. The woman was unable to provide a straight answer to the question which immediately raised red flags.

According to Detroit Police Chief James White, Officers Parrish and Flannel asked the woman if the children were hers and she said that they were. White said:

“Are these your children? To which she said yes, and the children at the same time were shaking their head no.”

The officers separated the woman driver from the children and began to ask what the relationship was between them and her. What they learned was shocking, the children, whose ages ranged from 11 to 5, did not know who the woman was that was driving the car.

As the officers continued their investigation, they learned the vehicle the suspect, identified as Stephanie Marie Binder, was driving was reported stolen.

Binder was arrested and charged with four counts each of kidnapping – child enticement, unlawful imprisonment, and one count each of receiving and concealing stolen property -motor vehicle, and unlawfully driving away of an automobile.

While conducting further investigation, Detroit Police learned of a Ring doorbell camera that was in the area where the children would normally walk to school.

When they reviewed that video they saw the van the woman was allegedly driving pull up to the children as they were walking and have an interaction with them. During the interaction, Binder was allegedly able to convince them to enter the car and leave the area.

Officers believe that Binder was able to convince the children to enter the van by targeting the youngest one and convincing him to enter. The older siblings followed the youngest one to ensure that he was safe while one of them, who had a cell phone, was calling for help.

The children’s mother, Shayla Burleigh, reported:

“She preyed on my youngest one. The oldest one didn’t want to leave his youngest brother. He did what he had to do.”

She added:

“I just thank everyone involved that my children are back home safe.”

Keith Lindey, one of the children’s father, expressed his praise and gratitude that the Detroit Police officers dug further on a simple traffic stop to ensure the safety of the community. He said:

“I just want to congratulate the City of Detroit police officers for performing their duties. I am thankful.”

There has been no information released that would give any insight as to why Binder allegedly kidnapped the four children. Binder is being held in a Wayne County Jail on a $5 million bond.

The court has ordered Binder if she can bond out to not have any contact with the victims in the case and will be ordered to wear a GPS monitor. Additionally, she will be confined to her home until further ordered by the courts.

Monday, September 13, 2021

Trend Micro Launches Free, Innovative Tool to Help Parents Support Children's Safety and Wellness Online

DALLASSept. 13, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Trend Micro Incorporated (TYO: 4704;TSE: 4704), a global leader in cybersecurity, today announced the launch of Trend Micro Family, a digital tool to help parents ensure their children's screen time is safe, positive, and healthy. Trend Micro Family gives parents a centralized way to ensure content is age-appropriate, choose privacy settings across multiple apps, be informed of areas of concern, and access resources if concerns arise.

While the pandemic has fueled an increase in screen time across all ages, parents generally feel positive about the role technology plays in their children's lives.  Based on a recent study by the Digital Wellness Lab, 63% of parents believe time online provides their children social and emotional support and 64% say it has helps them build stronger ties with friends.  Likewise, however, parents are concerned about the amount of their children's screen time, with 61% saying it is at least a little too much.  In an effort to support families' digital wellness, Trend Micro Family was developed in direct coordination with Trend Micro's Internet Safety for Kids & Families program, a philanthropic initiative launched in 2008 and currently active in 20 countries; the program is designed to educate parents, teachers, and children of all ages on how to use the internet in safe, responsible, and positive ways.

"We are very proud to welcome Trend Micro Family," said Lynette Owens, Global Director, Internet Safety for Kids & Families at Trend Micro, "After working with communities all over the world for more than 13 years, we created this tool in response to the unmet needs among families who want their children to thrive online but need more support to make sure it is a safe, positive and healthy experience. As a trusted authority in online security who has dedicated years to educating kids and parents, we feel uniquely positioned to help by coupling useful technology tools with the knowledge and resources families need."

Key features include:

  • Social Media Checker: An industry-first, Trend Micro Family provides parents a way to optimize the best security and privacy settings on their children's social media accounts in a centralized way versus setting them in each individual app.
  • Safe Browsing: A less invasive approach, Trend Micro Family provides a safer internet environment by blurring out explicit images, as well as preventing them from accessing unsuitable sites and blocking unwanted ads or third-party ad trackers.
  • Personalized Settings: Families with multiple children can choose settings appropriate for each child.
  • Screen Time Summary: Parents and guardians can see how their children are interacting with the internet to make decisions about managing their screen time and encourage healthy digital habits.
  • Visibility Reporting: Parents and guardians can get a deeper understanding of the interests and worries of their children, which can support on-going conversations among families about how to practice healthy digital habits.  
Trend Micro Family is available in two forms, Trend Micro Family for Parents and Trend Micro Family for Kids. To take full advantage of the technology, parents must first download the Trend Micro Family for Parents app and then are guided to download the Trend Micro Family for Kids app onto a child's device. Additionally, Trend Micro Family for Kids comes with a complimentary Chrome Extension for a safer web browsing experience that is easily downloaded from the Chrome Web Store.

When Trend Micro Family for Kids detects unsuitable content, such as explicit graphics, images are blurred out in real-time. If a child searches for keywords or terms that require attention from parents and guardians, Trend Micro Family for Kids sends a notification to the Trend Micro Family for Parents app. Parents have the option to alter the frequency and sensitivity of the alerts.

"As we emerge from a trying and transformative couple of years, we should reflect on what we've learned about our relationship to the internet," said Brook Stein, Director of Consumer Product Management at Trend Micro. "With the increased time online among families, there's an even greater need to make sure that time is spent in a safe and positive way."

Trend Micro plans to expand features in Trend Micro Family to include support for additional social media apps such as Tik-Tok and Facebook, filtering explicit videos, and providing more educational resources and tips to parents and kids which promote digital wellness and good digital citizenship.

To learn more about this solution, please visit online at

About Trend Micro 

Trend Micro, a global leader in cybersecurity, helps make the world safe for exchanging digital information. Leveraging over 30 years of security expertise, global threat research, and continuous innovation, Trend Micro enables resilience for businesses, governments, and consumers with connected solutions across cloud workloads, endpoints, email, IIoT, and networks. Our XGen™ security strategy powers our solutions with a cross-generational blend of threat-defense techniques that are optimized for key environments and leverage shared threat intelligence for better, faster protection. With over 6,700 employees in 65 countries, and the world's most advanced global threat research and intelligence, Trend Micro enables organizations to secure their connected world. 

Friday, August 20, 2021

Floridians Charged and Convicted in Connection with International Enterprise that Operated Sexually Exploitive ‘Child Modeling’ Websites


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Department of Justice
Office of Public Affairs

Wednesday, August 18, 2021



Floridians Charged and Convicted in Connection with International Enterprise that Operated Sexually Exploitive ‘Child Modeling’ Websites

A series of charges and convictions were announced today in connection with an international enterprise based in Florida that operated subscription-based sexually exploitive “child modeling” websites.

According to court documents, Kenneth Power (deceased at 58, of Weston), was a principal member of the Newstar Enterprise – an internet-based business aimed at for-profit sexual exploitation of vulnerable children under the guise of “child modeling” through a collection of websites called the Newstar Websites. Patrice Eileen Wilowski-Mevorah, 53, of Tampa, and Mary Lou Bjorkman, 58, of Lutz, recently pleaded guilty to laundering money for the Newstar Enterprise. Other members of the Newstar Enterprise resided in Europe. Kenneth Power’s wife, Tatiana “Tanya” Power, 41, of Weston, is currently pending trial on money laundering charges in connection with the Newstar Enterprise.

According to court documents, founded around 2005, the Newstar Enterprise built, maintained, hosted and operated the Newstar Websites on servers in the United States and abroad. To populate the Newstar Websites with content, Newstar Enterprise members sourced, enticed, solicited and recruited males and females under the age of 18, some of whom were prepubescent, to use as “child models” for the Newstar Websites. Using the recruited child-victims, the Newstar Enterprise produced more than 4.6 million sexualized images and videos to distribute and sell on the Newstar Websites. Some of those images and videos, though non-nude, depicted minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct. For example, images and videos sold on the Newstar Websites depicted children as young as 6 years old in sexual and provocative poses, wearing police and cheerleader costumes, thong underwear, transparent underwear, revealing swimsuits, pantyhose and miniskirts. Most of the child-victims - recruited from Ukraine, Moldova and other nations in Eastern Europe - were particularly vulnerable due to their age, family dynamics and poverty. Law enforcement officers have disabled the servers hosting the Newstar Websites.

The Newstar Enterprise maintained a membership list for subscribers and customers of the Newstar Websites, who originated from 101 nations across the world. Images in the websites’ galleries were freely available to the public to preview, but greater access and more content required purchasing a subscription. The sale of purported “child modeling” content on the Newstar Websites generated more than $9.4 million during the course of the conspiracy. To process, receive and distribute this money, Newstar Enterprise members fraudulently opened merchant and bank accounts in the United States and laundered proceeds using a bogus jewelry company. 

To date, four members of the Newstar Enterprise have been charged in connection with the Newstar Websites. The chart below shows the statuses of each case. 


Case Number



Maximum Penalty

Tatiana Power


Conspiracy to commit money laundering; international promotion money laundering; concealment money laundering


pending trial

100 years’ imprisonment

Kenneth Power


Conspiracy to advertise child pornography; conspiracy to distribute child pornography

Defendant deceased; case dismissed

60 years’ imprisonment

Patrice Wilowski-Mevorah


Conspiracy to commit money laundering

Pleaded guilty, sentence pending

20 years’ imprisonment

Mary Lou



Conspiracy to commit money laundering

Pleaded guilty, sentence pending

20 years’ imprisonment

A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

The defendants have also been notified that the United States intends to forfeit a total of $9.4 million, which are alleged to be traceable to proceeds of the offenses, in addition to real property located in Florida.

These cases were investigated by Homeland Security Investigations in Tampa, with substantial assistance provided by Homeland Security Investigations offices in Fort Lauderdale, Athens, and the Hague, as well as the IRS-Criminal Investigation in Tampa. The Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs provided investigative assistance.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Frank Murray of the Middle District of Florida and Trial Attorney Kyle Reynolds of the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS) are prosecuting these cases.

This investigation benefited from foreign law enforcement cooperation and substantial assistance by the Republic of Bulgaria, Supreme Cassation Prosecution Office and National Investigation Service; the Republic of Moldova, Office of the Prosecutor General and National Inspectorate of Investigations; the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Department for Combating Crime Cybercrime Office, Public Prosecution Service (North-Holland Unit); the Italian Republic; and the Czech Republic, Supreme Public Prosecutor’s Office, Czech Police.

An indictment is merely an allegation, and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.